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EU Invites Comments On Italian Port Taxation

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

15 January 2020


An invitation to submit comments with regards to the corporate tax exemption provided to ports in Italy was published in the January 10, 2020, issue of the Official Journal of the European Union.

The call for comments follows the launch of an in-depth state aid investigation into the tax exemptions on November 15, 2019, by the European Commission.

EU state aid rules apply to the commercial activities of port infrastructure, such as providing paid access to the port. Given that Italian ports are fully exempt from corporate tax, the Commission is of the view that they are receiving a competitive advantage in the internal market that could be contrary to state aid rules.

According to the Commission's assessment of the measure in question, the exemption reduces the charges that are normally included in the operating costs of an undertaking carrying out an economic activity and therefore constitutes an advantage. As ports are involved in intra-Union trade, the exemption is also liable to affect trade and distort competition, the Commission argues. Furthermore, the EC believes that the measure is selective because it favors certain undertakings.

The Commission has opened the investigation because Italy has yet to agree to change these rules following a request from the EC in January 2019. However, as this tax exemption is categorized as "existing aid", which was in place before Italy acceded to the EU, the Commission would be unable to ask Italy to recover any aid already granted.

Interested parties may submit their comments on the measure within one month of the publication of the request for comments.

TAGS: tax | marine | European Commission | corporation tax | Italy | trade | Europe

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